South Africa football icon Tovey suffers heart attack


Johannesburg (AFP) – South African Neil Tovey, the only white footballer to captain an Africa Cup of Nations-winning team, suffered a heart attack in Durban on Sunday, his brother said.

“Neil suffered a heart attack while training this afternoon and was rushed to hospital,” former professional footballer Mark Tovey told reporters.

“We are waiting for a report from the doctor and the next few hours are going to be critical,” his brother added.

Tovey led hosts South Africa to a 2-0 triumph over Tunisia in the 1996 Cup of Nations final before a capacity 80,000 crowd in Soweto that included then state president Nelson Mandela.

Debutants Bafana Bafana (The Boys) conceded only two goals in six matches en route to glory and calm, authoritative central defender Tovey received much of the credit.

Tovey was dropped from the national team after a shock 1998 World Cup qualifying defeat in Congo Brazzaville and never regained his place.

He spent most of his club career with Kaizer Chiefs, one of the most successful and popular football teams in the republic. 

Now 54, Tovey was appointed national technical director last year and tasked with developing young talent, an area of the game neglected for many years by South Africa.

He was reportedly hospitalised over heart trouble a few months before his appointment.

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